Fast ForWord software targets underlying issues.
- 50+ adaptive research based exercises.
- At home, with remote coaching, for reading and learning.
How Fast ForWord Works
The Science Behind The Software
Most reading and learning difficulties stem from processing delays that are not addressed at school. These difficulties, however, can be helped substantially with targeted mental exercises that strengthen processing and related skill gaps.
This is how Fast ForWord works. It helps the brain reorganize, activating new neural pathways, leading to improved focus and reading and learning efficiency.
Tapping Into Neuroplasticity
Rewiring How Children Learn
Over the past 30 years, neuroscientists have studied the human brain to determine how it learns and what factors affect learning. Prior to this research it was thought that the brain was hardwired or fixed. But scientists in the 1980s, confirmed with advent of fMRIs in the 1990s, made the ground-breaking discovery of brain plasticity, the capacity of the brain to fundamentally reorganize itself when confronted with new challenges. They also discovered that improved brain function can be stimulated to occur at any age.
At the forefront of this neuroplasticity research were neuroscientists Dr. Michael Merzenich, Dr. Bill Jenkins and Dr. Steve Miller, who collaborated to develop Fast ForWord software.
The Science of Reading
At the same time as this research was going on, Dr. Paula Tallal -- the fourth Fast ForWord co-founder -- was developing cognitive theories about the cause of reading difficulty in children.
She discovered a common thread, now accepted science, but at the time ground-breaking, that reading is a language skill, and that difficulties in memory, attention, processing and sequencing, but particularly, processing sounds, breaking words down into phonemes, explained the vast majority of reading difficulties.
Fast ForWord was a collaboration of these two findings:
Reading requires efficient processing, and
Brain function is plastic -- improved processing can be activated
It then took years of research and more powerful home computers to develop the right exercises and the right adaptive algorithms, followed by many more years of testing. The end result is Fast ForWord, 50+ exercises, worked on in various customized sequences depending on the student, that first build cognitive skills, and then train reading fluency and comprehension.
Fast ForWord features
The "Slow Pitch" Learning Concept
While Fast ForWord is the product of 35+ years of cognitive, linguistic and neuroscience research, the concept is simple.
The Problem. Reading -- decoding and comprehension -- requires efficient processing and memory skills.
The Idea. When a child learns to hit a baseball, the instructor pitches slowly at first, and then speeds up. Fast ForWord uses this same approach to strengthen cognitive skills -- slow and simple to start, adding speed and complexity at the student's pace.
The Solution. Fast ForWord cognitive software uses sophisticated algorithms and patented language technology that adapt to every click. The rapid-fire exercises strengthen memory, attention, processing and sequencing, leading to more efficient reading and learning.
Why Cognitive Skills Matter
Accurate listening is probably a child's most important first skill. It dictates how quickly he or she will pick up the language, and then how quickly he or she will learn from their surroundings, their parents, peers and teachers. Then of course, it will determine early reading decoding skills.
If your child is not processing sound fast enough, phonemic awareness is impaired and phonics are hard to grasp. To function properly a brain needs to be able to perform many different cognitive skills (such as processing, sequencing, working memory) at natural language speed. For children with even the slightest auditory processing disorder, including those who may have had 4-6 weeks of ear infections while very young, this is a problem.
Accurate listening is not easy. It is one of the fastest things the brain does. Distinguishing syllables comes down to differentiating sounds in milliseconds. Count off a second. One, one thousand. Four syllables, 2-3 sounds in each, all in one second. This critical skill is beyond many students and becomes a lifetime impediment to success.